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No Clear Winner Among Diets

When it comes to weight loss, there is no "magic" diet, says a review of published studies. The review looked at 48 studies involving more than 7,000 people. Some were on low-carb diets, such as Atkins or South Beach. Others followed low-fat diets. People lost an average of 18 pounds over 6 months, regardless of the diet they followed. People tended to lose a few more pounds if the program told them to exercise, or if they had behavioral counseling at least twice a month for the first 3 months. By the one-year mark, however, most people had gained back 2 to 4 pounds. The study focused only on weight loss; it did not look at heart-disease risk or other health effects. The researchers say that the standard weight-loss advice of cutting calories and exercising still stands. They also say that the best diet is the one that a person can stick with over time.

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